Review: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

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Final Fantasy’s reputation for reinventing itself with every major release as well as spreading its brand name into other genres has made it a powerhouse series since it had saved a struggling Square in the early eighties. While some developers may choose to standardize on a set of systems for their own games, Square Enix’s ongoing efforts in designing a new battle system, set of characters, and an entire world to put them in with every title say as much for their imaginative talents as it does for their efforts in keeping the franchise fresh.

FF13, the latest in the franchise’s long line of major RPG entries, raises the same stakes and is part of a huge celebration of Final Fantasy that Square-Enix has termed Fabula Nova Crystalis. FF13 is only the first “13″ title to emerge in this series, but it is considered the flagship title of the new compilation. It’s a huge game that easily clocks in at sixty or more hours of fantastic adventure.

Whether they’ve also fit in enough actual gameplay, however, depends on how much tunnel vision you want to endure for the story that it wants to tell.
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Final Fantasy XIII Demo is Out in Japan…

…and it looks incredibly amazing. I can’t help but think, though, that before Phantasy Star decided to go the route that it did and went another way instead, the heavily industrialized and sci-fi tinted world of FFXIII might have been the result.

The demo was given out with the blu-ray release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete in Japan on the 16th (their time) and it didn’t take long for this to hit the ‘net afterwards thanks to an enterprising fan. However, it’s not the final build of the game that we’ll be seeing, but one based off of an older version instead.

At least, that’s what Square Enix has said according to info gleaned from Final Fantasy fansite, Final Fantasy Union, who go on to basically say that the demo…as incomplete as it has been made out to be…was simply added to the blu-ray release in order to boost sales.

Still, the footage is amazing stuff for any Final Fantasy fan hungry to see anything on the game. Marketing ploy or not, one could say that it has served its purpose by getting plenty of Final Fantasy fanatics debating every detail revealed within it from the sci-fi look of the series to the already-dubbed “Chocofro” of one of the characters.

So be sure to pull up a chair and get ready for nearly fifty or so minutes of footage broken up across five videos, the first of which is below and the rest are linked after the jump. And there’s one more tantalizing piece of info: at the end, a release date of Winter 2009 is revealed, although that is likely to pertain to the Japanese PS3 release date.

It’s still good stuff but be warned: subtitles not included.


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